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Plastic Surgery + HBOT

One of the most commonly known aspects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is that it is often used to help in the healing process of wounds, including those created by the process of plastic surgery (or any other type of surgery as well!).

A hand is covered in a medical-grade latex glove, and it traces the contours of a woman's face with a pen, outlining where one may choose to get plastic surgery.

No matter if a patient is seeking plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes or medical necessity, HBOT may help the overall healing process, and thus, may also shorten recovery time!

According to information provided by the International Hyperbarics Association (IHA), "The high complication rate of these surgeries is attributable to blood supply disruption resulting in ischemia, necrosis, infection, wound dehiscence and excessive scarring" (International Hyperbarics Association, 2020).

Additionally, the IHA lists these known mechanisms and benefits of utilizing hyperbaric treatments alongside a plastic surgery procedure:

Physiologic Benefits:

  • Quicker healing

  • Less scarring, bruising, infection

Enhances Healing and Recovery:

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Minimizes pain and discomfort

  • Reduces Swelling

Supports Healing at the Cellular Level:

  • Promotes anti-inflammatory proteins

  • Improved angiogenesis enhancing blood flow to tissue

  • Induces fibroblast activation

  • Enhances collagen production

  • Stimulates neovascularization and vasodilation

  • Stimulates bone remodeling

Reduces Risk of Infection:

  • Elevates phagocytosis to above normal levels

  • Enhances microbial activity

  • Increases intracellular leukocytes

A woman in medical scrubs prepares to put a patient in a hyperbaric chamber.

If you'd like to know more about how hyperbarics may help to aid in post-surgery recovery, give us a call at 515-421-4002!

Interested in taking a look at the research yourself? Check out this direct link to research articles on hyperbaric treatments, wound healing, and plastic surgery outcomes.

You can also check out these videos from Dr. Jason Sonners of HBOT USA regarding HBOT for pre and post surgical procedures:


International Hyperbarics Association. (2020). Plastic Surgery & Hyperbarics [Brochure]. International Hyperbarics Association.

What evidence supports the use of hyperbaric treatments to help with plastic surgery?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been studied as a potential adjunctive treatment to improve outcomes in plastic surgery.

  • A systematic review by Huang et al. (2021) found that HBOT may have a positive impact on flap survival, wound healing, and infection prevention in reconstructive surgery. Additionally, HBOT has been shown to reduce postoperative edema and pain in plastic surgery patients (1).

  • HBOT works by delivering high concentrations of oxygen to tissues, which can promote angiogenesis, collagen synthesis, and improve cellular metabolism (2).

  • Several studies have investigated the effects of HBOT on outcomes in specific plastic surgery procedures, such as breast reconstruction, rhinoplasty, and facial reconstruction. For example, a study by Uzun et al. (2017) found that HBOT significantly improved flap viability in patients undergoing breast reconstruction surgery (3).

  • A systematic review by Gouin et al. (2018) concluded that while HBOT may improve outcomes in certain types of reconstructive surgery, further studies are needed to determine optimal treatment protocols and patient selection criteria (4).

  • Another review by Runkle et al. (2016) similarly concluded that the use of HBOT in plastic surgery warrants further investigation, particularly for its potential benefits in improving wound healing and reducing the risk of complications (5).

  • Several studies have investigated the use of HBOT to improve flap survival rates in reconstructive surgery. A randomized controlled trial by Paydar et al. (2015) found that HBOT significantly improved the survival of random skin flaps in rats by increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to the flap tissue (6).

  • A study by Aghajani et al. (2017) similarly found that HBOT improved the survival of axial pattern flaps in rabbits (7).

  • HBOT for wound healing: HBOT has been shown to improve wound healing in a variety of settings, including diabetic foot ulcers and radiation-induced skin injuries. In plastic surgery, HBOT has been investigated as a potential treatment to improve wound healing and reduce the risk of complications such as infection and dehiscence. A study by Ozkan et al. (2017) found that HBOT improved wound healing and reduced the risk of complications in patients undergoing abdominoplasty surgery (8).

  • HBOT for pain management: HBOT has been shown to reduce postoperative pain in a variety of surgical settings. A systematic review by Zhang et al. (2017) found that HBOT significantly reduced postoperative pain in patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures, including plastic surgery (9).

  • A study by Atik et al. (2018) similarly found that HBOT reduced postoperative pain and analgesic use in patients undergoing rhinoplasty surgery (10).

The research is promising and gives us some guidance on protocols. If you feel that hyperbaric treatments may be right for you or for your patients, please reach out. We’d love to develop a protocol to help with optimal healing.

HBOT adjunctive treatment for pre-conditioning and post-surgical treatments -

Two Protocols from which your patients can choose

  • For Plastic Surgery Patients in Hard Sided Chamber:

    • Enhanced Healing Protocol: 3 visits before and 7 visits after procedure (10 total)

    • Optimal Healing Protocol: 6 visits before and 9 visits after proceudre (15 total)

*Content created in part with AI tool ChatGPT.


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